Author Topic: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?  (Read 3577 times)

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Offline ScrappyB

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Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« on: April 17, 2013, 08:30:44 pm »
I was raised as a Christian, but since rejecting that worldview I've called myself an agnostic. I've never seen any evidence of deities, but I can't rule them out either just because proving such things is beyond science. I think religion came about as a way to explain phenomena people lacked the understanding and technology to explain, and I'm confident that as our scientific knowledge grows the mysteries currently attributed to supernatural forces will be explained, just like they have in the past.

I don't believe in any kind of deity that's even concerned with life on Earth as a whole, let alone the lives and actions of individual people. Philosophically I consider myself a secular humanist, and I don't really care what people choose to believe as long as they don't try to force their beliefs on others. Unfortunately, fundies seldom do this so I find myself irritated at them quite often. On the other hand, militant atheists annoy me for the same reason.

After doing some reading on atheism, I've started to wonder whether I unconsciously gave myself that label in order to avoid the stigma of calling myself an atheist.
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Offline terri

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 08:55:13 pm »
The way I've always heard it:
Atheist: "There is no God. Period."
Agnostic: "I don't know whether there is a God or not and am not convinced one way or the other."
I think I lean toward the latter.

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 09:13:49 pm »
Me, I go with atheist because I'm not theistic, but I personally don't care about religion. It's a lot of silly questions that will never lead us to answers and will never help us. Call yourself what your comfortable calling yourself and go from there.

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 09:14:26 pm »
I think the proper term for what people think of an agnostic is an "agnostic atheist."  "I don't believe in any deities but I'm not ruling out the actual possibility."

The proper term for what people think of an atheist is a "gnostic atheist."  "There are no deities, period."

Both are equally valid viewpoints.

I've heard it jokingly described that a fundie agnostic would run around screaming "I don't know, and neither do you!"
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Offline Sleepy

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 09:18:55 pm »
Based on the info you gave, I'd say atheist, because you don't believe in any deity.

I don't believe any deities exist. I'm willing to admit that you can't prove such a thing for sure, because how the hell do you prove that something doesn't exist? You can't prove a negative, but you shouldn't have to in order to believe that it doesn't exist. (I don't believe unicorns exist, but I can't actually prove it.) Because there is no evidence whatsoever of a god, then I see no reason to believe in one. Thus making me atheist.
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Offline clockworkgirl21

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 09:23:38 pm »
Quote
I've heard it jokingly described that a fundie agnostic would run around screaming "I don't know, and neither do you!"

Joke or not, it seems valid to me. Nothing wrong with believing in a god, but thinking you know for sure in detail what happens after you die and everyone who believes differently is wrong? Heh, I don't know, and neither do you.

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 09:25:58 pm »
Quote
I've heard it jokingly described that a fundie agnostic would run around screaming "I don't know, and neither do you!"

Joke or not, it seems valid to me. Nothing wrong with believing in a god, but thinking you know for sure in detail what happens after you die and everyone who believes differently is wrong? Heh, I don't know, and neither do you.

Hell, that mindset is why pagans are generally not supposed to criticize others for their paths.

That and they're supposed to believe that their brand of paganism isn't "the only way" like some religions believe.  Many roads to Rome, let's say.

It's a good mindset, but not when taken to extremes.

...Granted I don't know of anyone who has, considering the nature of it.
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Distind

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 09:29:28 pm »
Do you wish to waffle or not believe?

I really fail to see the point of claiming agnosticism most of the time, if we can't know, why bother caring about the matter? And honestly if you're not going to live giving lip service to which ever gods you believe might be possible you may as well be an atheist anyway, not a whole lot of theology judges people on if they think the particular god might possibly exist.

Atheism is as simple as not believing there is a god. Personally I have no sense of there being a god, see no proof for any gods, and find the waffly position annoying as I can't get a proper breakfast out of this no matter how many times I say waffle.

If you're really torn on the matter, really not sure about it. Then agnostic actually does make sense. If it's something that keeps you up at night or occupies your thoughts on a regular basis, that seems like honest agnosticism to me. If you don't believe but hope to be less offensive by claiming you can't prove it, then you're wasting everyone's time. If you have little use for a belief in god, and sleep fine regardless of one exists or not, then you're living atheism already and may as well run with it.
Quote
I've heard it jokingly described that a fundie agnostic would run around screaming "I don't know, and neither do you!"

Joke or not, it seems valid to me. Nothing wrong with believing in a god, but thinking you know for sure in detail what happens after you die and everyone who believes differently is wrong? Heh, I don't know, and neither do you.
I've met one of those idiots and it was more annoying than any evangelical I've ever had to deal with. The guy lived every day of his life as if there was no god, soul and theological text may as well be used as toliet paper. But he couldn't possibly be an atheist, atheists are all assholes who are wrong because we can't possibly know.

I can assure you I wasn't the asshole in that particular conversation. I, the atheist, made arguments for preserving theological texts as a method of studying how the human mind works and creates mythologies.


And now I really want waffles.

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 09:35:10 pm »
Which brand of Eggo waffles shall I send you, great overlord? :D
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Offline Sleepy

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 09:37:21 pm »
I think my sister is a good example of an agnostic, because she waffles back and forth constantly, as Distind described. The OP is leaning more to one side than the other, which is why atheist is probably best. And it'd be silly to remain agnostic to avoid any sort of stigma, considering it's not much of a "stigma leap" to go from agnostic to atheist.
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Offline Flying Mint Bunny!

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 07:36:57 am »
Hmm. I tend to go with being an atheist instead of agnostic, because agnostic seems to imply a greater level of doubt.

I think there is no god, but I do acknowledge that it is not completely impossible that god could exist.

I don't think vampires exist either, but it is not completely impossible that they are real.

I wouldn't sit on the fence about vampires though and say i'm undecided, so I don't do the same with god.

Offline Old Viking

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 04:16:50 pm »
The atheist subscribes to the belief that there is no god because there is no evidence whatsoever to warrant such a belief.   "Well golly, there maybe could be some sort of god perhaps" strikes me as a lame position at best.  Agnosticism is a rarefied form of hedging one's bet.
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Offline Vypernight

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 04:34:17 pm »
Your spirituality is yours alone so call yourself whatever you want.  If you feel you're being honest with yourself by calling yourself an agnostic, then go for it.  It's your choice, not anyone else's.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 04:30:34 pm by Vypernight »
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Offline Dakota Bob

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2013, 06:38:18 pm »
Never heard an atheist say "THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO GODS EVER AT ALL" outside of r/atheism.

The atheist subscribes to the belief that there is no god because there is no evidence whatsoever to warrant such a belief.   "Well golly, there maybe could be some sort of god perhaps" strikes me as a lame position at best.  Agnosticism is a rarefied form of hedging one's bet.

+1 to this.

Offline syaoranvee

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Re: Should I call myself an agnostic or atheist?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 08:44:21 pm »